CBS's Gayle King: Black people in Virginia don't believe Northam is a racist

CBS “This Morning” host Gayle King on Monday said that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) “has a lot of support in the state of Virginia,” while adding that the people she has spoken to in the state “do not believe” the governor is racist.

"It's a very interesting time for the governor because what I walked away feeling is that he so wants to make this right," said King following an interview with Northam that aired Sunday on “Face the Nation.”


"I talked to black people and white people in Virginia who say — he has a lot of support in the state of Virginia — who say look at his history, what he's done."

"No one — the people that I talked to do not believe he's racist," she concluded. "They think it was a stupid thing but don't think he's racist."

Northam faced pressure from a number of national and local Democrats to resign earlier this month after a racist photo was uncovered on his medical yearbook page from 35 years ago. Northam initially apologized for the photo, which features one man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan hood, but later said he was not either of the figures in the picture.

The governor did admit to once dressing in blackface for a Michael Jackson dance contest in 1984 around the same time the yearbook photo was taken.

King's comments come as a Washington Post-Schar School poll conducted last week found 47 percent of Virginia residents surveyed want Northam to resign, while the same percentage want him to stay.

Of the African-Americans surveyed in that poll, 58 percent said that they prefer Northam remain in office while 37 percent said they think he should resign. Forty-eight percent of white residents surveyed said they wanted Northam to resign, with 46 percent stating a preference to stay.

Along party lines, 57 percent of Democrats said Northam should remain in the governor's mansion, while 56 percent of Republicans said he should step down.